Five (Or Six) Frugal Things

by Katy on August 14, 2013 · 20 comments

  1. Ran errands this morning, but only those in the N.E. Portland area in order to minimize gas consumption.
  2. Will be taking the kids (and their cousins) to play underground day-glo pirate mini-golf using 2-4-1 coupons I’ve been saving for a special occasion.
  3. Have been utilizing the clothesline, despite the seven of us (!) who currently inhabit our house. (And lest you ever forget, we have one-count-’em one bathroom for the lot of us.)
  4. Made a work lunch that included a large amount of ever so slightly pink tinged lettuce. Looked gross, but was still perfectly safe to eat. Needless to say, I brought my own homemade Tea Towel Salad Dressing.
  5. Have been chicken sitting for my friend Lise, which includes free freshly laid eggs!
  6. My son needs to read The Book Thief for school, and the library was taking too long to cough up  a copy. However, I was able to get a used copy at Powell’s bookstore. I did have to ask though, as there were only new copies on the shelf. And of course I already had store credit, so no money changed hands.

How about you, what frugal activities have you been up to lately?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”
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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Jackie August 14, 2013 at 4:26 pm

1) Still riding my bike to work (started in April). It’s about 3 miles round trip. It would probably be better exercise to walk it, but I can get there faster on the bike. If I need to go somewhere or run an errand and it’s under 2 miles, I bike it.
2) Continuing to hang all loads of laundry. Sometimes inside. Sometimes outside. Trying to make my dryer obsolete. Actually, we are doing less laundry overall.
3) Made cloth napkin “markers” out of wooden clothespins ( wrote names and drew design on each family members). This is to continue our quest to cut paper consumption and reduce laundry. Could have bought napkin rings , but just using what we had.
I could go on, but for me the most exciting accomplishment of all this summer is by making some changes and becoming very watchful about our energy consumption we have cut our water bill 30% and our gas and electric by 42%! Woo hoo!
I just want to thank you Katy for continuing to share your frugal ways. It inspires me everyday and keeps me thinking about what else I can do to practice responsible frugality in my life.


Sara August 15, 2013 at 3:51 am

1. I’ve stopped buying lunch when I work and instead have been making use of leftovers.
2. My nephews have already decided what they want to be for Halloween, so we’ve been hitting goodwill and local thrift shops to get pieces to put together their costumes. No overpriced costumes this year!
I hope your son likes “The Book Thief”. I read it last year and it’s an emotional read at times, but it’s become one of my favorite books.


Kate August 15, 2013 at 5:13 am

I second making changes and becoming watchful of energy/ water consumption! I saved $50 on my utility bills! Woohoo!!


Nikki August 15, 2013 at 5:56 am

I make my laundry soap.

I have been setting the air on 76. And I have been slowly training my husband that he does not need the house to be 70 degrees. It has helped that he has lost weight, so he cools off easier these days.
I told my friend recently about your blog. She is frugalicious like you. She was just ranting the other day about the crazy cost of school supplies. She said no to the “PTA school supply box” and went on a quest for used, garage sale, thrift and dollar store supplies for her boys. Instead of paying the PTA price of $45 each – – she found all three boys supplies for $30 total. HAHA Love it!


Tonya August 15, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Ha! Our PTA fundraiser is selling school supplies and they ask $65/child. For SCHOOL SUPPLIES! I passed, and did the usual “shop our house for last year’s gently used supplies”. 🙂


Renee August 15, 2013 at 6:01 am

Underground. Day glo. Pirate. Mini golf.

Only in Portlandia.


kris August 15, 2013 at 6:06 am

Most of my frugality today (except #1) has to do with cleaning out my deep freezer today, lol.

1. I called in to work today (I know, naughty but I am behind on so much in my house needing to be done), so I: a) will still get paid b/c it’s a sick day and b) saved gas (by not driving).
2. Had a small list of stuff I *thought* I needed from the grocery store but decided to clean out my freezer before my errand and found 2 packs of already cooked chicken (leftovers) that I had put in there that is just about enough to put in my casserole for tonight’s dinner. I also have 1 can of buffalo chicken (in a can, like tuna) that someone had given me that will make it enough chicken. My casserole is Buffalo Chicken with Roasted Potato Casserole so it’s perfect! Everything on my list else can wait until my w/end shopping trip.

3. Pulled out a couple of chicken carcasses from the freezer and will be making some homemade stock this afternoon.

4. Will be making homemade breadcrumbs from the hotdog and hamburger buns that I pulled out of the freezer.


Leenie August 15, 2013 at 6:39 am

1. Canning a gifted bushel and a half of bird-egg beans, 2 bushels of new potatoes and wild berry jam (huckleberries, raspberries, blackberries and elderberries…all of which I wildcrafted for free).
2. Just said goodbye to my 13-year old daughter who is off with two of her friends. They will all be helping her friends’ mother and grandmother harvest, prep and can today. They did spaghetti sauce and tomatoes yesterday and will be doing corn and beans today. They’re learning about community, helping neighbors and having fun while learning some practical skills. They’ll enjoy a good meal together mid-day and probably go horseback riding at the end of the day on the farm they are helping out on.
3. My son is shelling more beans for me in exchange for another driving lesson this afternoon. We’re enjoying this and eventually he can save me time and money by running errands while I do other things here at home.
4. Dehydrating halved cherry and pear tomatoes (free from a neighbor as well as from our garden from plants that were given to us when we helped out with a local greenhouse’s open house back in May).
5. Counting my blessings…always free and always enriching!


J. Pario August 15, 2013 at 7:06 am

I made a classy wedding gift for less than $1.

Granted, my favorite thrift store was having a $1 bag sale, which helped. But $1 was enough for two of these tiered trays, one of which we will keep.

It’s photographed on the blog as a jewelry holder but I’m guessing it will hold candy. Besides, here on the Non-Consumer Advocate is the ONLY place where I’d ever admit that I made a wedding gift for so little! But it is beautiful, I think, and useful.


Maureen August 15, 2013 at 8:06 am


Just got back from a hearing which was between the town and myself to reduce the assessment of my property in order to reduce my taxes. I’ve previously mentioned here, that I’ve been grieving my assessment for 3 years now. Well this year I had enough substantial proof that the houses in my neighborhood were over-assessed. The town did not agree with my proof and did not reduce the assessment. I paid $30. for a hearing so someone else could review my assessment. I was praised for all the work that I did and the proof that I had. The town and I came to a compromised and reduced the assessed value to the tune of $10,000. which equates out to almost $500. a year and about $23. a month. That’s $23. more than I previously had and will be applied to the principle now. Considering that I was asking for a $20,000 reduction, I think the compromise went pretty well.

To me, that is the sound of VICTORY!!! I won against the Town!

I’m also getting rid of an antique sewing machine this weekend that has been on Criag’s List several times and the price reduced just to get rid of it.

Next steps are to try and get a raise (yeah I know, that’s a toughy) and pay off the Visa bill by the end of the year.


Katy August 15, 2013 at 8:30 am

Wow, congrats on getting your property taxes lowered. Portland taxes are so high, so I feel your pain. (There’s no sales tax in Oregon, so other taxes are insane!)



Amy Dunn August 15, 2013 at 9:39 am

Way to go, Katie, on #5! Sign me up for babysitting chickens for free eggs!


cathy August 15, 2013 at 10:49 pm

My husband bought a sun tea jar for $1 at a yard sale. Brought it home and discovered the spigot was shot and it stuck in the open position. We duct taped the opening from the inside and repurposed it as a badly-needed countertop compost jar. And it’s got a cute retro flower design as well.
We got two-for-one vitamins and paid for all but ~$1.50 with a store gift card.
Continuing my efforts to find creative ways to use up all fresh food and leftovers so it doesn’t go bad. 🙂 Not so frugal: Discovered a bunch of wayyyy-past-its-edible-date food in my pantry. 🙁
Cancelled the optional curbside glass pickup (back to dropping it off) and reconfigured our sprinkler usage which lowered our water/garbage/recycling bill 32%. Now we’re seriously considering taking out the entire front lawn and xeriscaping which will decrease our water usage even more (not to mention save time taking care of the lawn). This is pretty big since we live in the second most arid state in the country.
We’ve been paying closer attention to using appliances during off-peak hours, and unplugging chargers and turning off power strips when not in use. We also have a method for opening up the windows in the house except for the hottest hours of the day. Despite the fact that it’s been consistently in the upper 90s and over 100 since mid-June, AND the fact that we had to replace our AC with a larger unit (what we had was undersized for our square footage), we have reduced our electricity usage 22%!


JaneUlness August 16, 2013 at 9:00 am

We don’t have an air conditioner. Most of the time here we don’t need one. I turn the gas off mid April and will turn it back on mid to late September.
I am always hunting for five dollar dinners– per family, not per plate.
My daughter made her own iced coffee in a reusable coffee glass!
We reuse packing material at work and bring any boxes we find along with paper grocery bags. Our town has a plastic ban. I bring reuseable bags as much as possible and get a nickel credit per bag on my food bill.
I cook a whole chicken, as apposed to buying a deli chicken ( a lot more expensive) and divide it up into portions – 1/2 breasts, dark meat, bones for stock. Portion control and no waste.


Denise August 17, 2013 at 8:18 am

I haven’t done anything more frugal than usual, but I feel like I have been the queen of “no” lately. There are a lot of opportunities for money leaks out there, and none of them have particularly interested me.


Katy August 17, 2013 at 11:05 am

“No” is king.



Kim August 18, 2013 at 9:35 am

1. Today I will can 24 lbs of peaches my friend brought back from SC for me.
2. Yesterday we went to the Orioles game with my husband’s company’s season tickets. Box seats at $48 each times 4 for free.
3. Picked up brand new grill grates from another freecycler. He ordered the wrong ones and didn’t want to fool with sending them back so saved us $70!
4. Was at the hospital for some imaging tests so hit the hospital charity thrift shop after to take my mind off results. Got brand new Merrell sandals for $10! Also a book and DVD set for $3.50 which I’ll list on Amazon for $40.
5. Spent last weekend at friend’s beach house doing heavy duty gardening with her. Now we can use beach house whenever we like for free!


Jen August 18, 2013 at 9:47 am

1) Found 3 3 lb. packages of ground turkey that were about to hit the sell-by date for only $1 each! I’ve never used ground turkey before–time to find some recipes!
2) I’ve needed to buy some new kitchen utensils for awhile now, and I’ve been limping along with what I had. I was about to give up and visit the store, when I stumbled upon an estate sale near my house. It was the end of the day, and the man let me take a whole box full of spatulas, serving spoons, casserole dishes, storage canisters, stainless and silver flatware, etc. for only a few dollars. All vintage/antique, all very sturdy. I even got him to throw in some old cigar boxes that looked interesting; they are from the 20’s and I’m hoping I can sell them for a bit of cash because they’re in amazing condition.

Anybody know any good ground turkey recipes or anything about antique cigar boxes? 🙂


Katy August 18, 2013 at 11:16 am

You should ask this question over at the Facebook Group:



dusty August 21, 2013 at 3:09 am

No frugality for me this week. My brother and girlfriend are visiting Orlando, looking for places to live as they are thinking about moving here. So they have been here for about 2 weeks in a beautiful resort and invited me to visit. So spent a couple of days sitting by the pool, working out in the beautiful gym, going out to eat and we went to a butterfly encouter which was fun. So spent a lot of money but it was worth it to spend time with them and take a break from my life and play tourist. Now, back to the business of being frugal!!


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